Why is it taking so long to solve the Syria crisis?

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa

Millions of refugees, a whole host of rebel movements, constant ‘negotiations’ and regular flights to Geneva. And despite a universally recognised humanitarian crisis, the Syrian conflict appears no closer to a solution. Why? The answer is actually quite complex and requires apportioning the blame to a number of parties, including the opposition. Let’s begin there: The opposition The Syrian opposition …

Iran v Saudi Arabia: it’s politics

Abu Bakr Al Shamahi Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

There have been a lot of articles and amazingly fascinating fact boxes on the split between Shia and Sunni Muslims, written, I’m guessing, by people who don’t know their Karbala from their Kelloggs, in an attempt to explain the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Normally, when I read an article that says something along the lines of “the people …

Russia struggles to re-align foreign policy following Iran Deal

Sami Hamdi Russia

It is well documented the role Russia and Iran respectively played in protecting the Syrian regime diplomatically and militarily. Russia used its veto to great effect, contributing to the slow international response to the Syrian crisis. For Russia, the matter was clear; NATO is not welcome on Russian borders and the US must not be allowed to install an ally …

The Saudi-ISIS myth and the Iran Deal PR imbalance

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

The Iran deal has been good for Iran from every angle, particularly on the PR front. By agreeing to the stringent technical conditions on its nuclear program, Iran has presented itself as a country genuinely striving for peace in the midst of animosity and a country demonstrating restraint and perseverance in this endeavour. In particular, it has presented itself as …

Iran Deal: What happens now in the region?

Sami Hamdi Iran, Middle East/North Africa, World Politics

After tense, lengthy negotiations, the P5+1 and Iran penned the long awaited nuclear deal that will see sanctions lifted and the Iranian nuclear programme reined in to lengthen the time Iran would need to build a nuclear weapon. However given the ongoing situation in the region; notably Iran’s support for rampant militias in Iraq; a brutal regime in Syria that has plunged the country into a bloody civil war; and Hezbollah in Lebanon which has effectively prevented the appointment of a President for over a year and half, the concessions granted to Iran are nothing short of incredible.

‘Iran is an empire and Baghdad is its Capital’ – a statement of truth

Sami Hamdi Iran, Iraq, Middle East/North Africa

Ali Younsi, advisor to President Hassan Rouhani on religious and minority affairs, stated that Iran is now an empire and Baghdad is its Capital. Such a brazen statement appears to have generally been ignored as fanciful and wishful thinking at best. However, in reality, Ali Younsi’s statement carries much truth as Iraqi forces, led by Hadi al Amiri publicly and …

King Abdullah dies, and King Salman ends the succession struggle

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

On 22nd January 2015, King Abdullah bin AbdelAziz Al Saud passed away after ruling for nearly 10 years. Through a number of swift and shrewd decrees his successor, King Salman, has ensured the continued stability of the Kingdom and ended-for now-any discussion regarding the transition of power from the first to the second generation, by appointing the interior minister Muhammad …